Argentina: Expofrut puts its plant in Albardon up for sale

The table grape crisis has affected Expofrut, the largest exporter in the province of San Juan, which last year closed its facilities and is now selling its premises.

The company had a very well-oiled logistics operation and bought table grapes and stone fruit to more than 100 producers from San Juan. It had its packing plant in Albardon and its cold storage facilities in Santa Lucia, on route 20. They even had their own refrigerated trucks to carry the fruit to the ports.

In September 2016, the company informed government officials in the province that it was undergoing a restructuring process. Before the end of that year, 90 workers had been laid off and compensated while another 50 were on that road.

Today, producers feel brokenhearted when they go travel through route 20 and see the For Sale signs on that property.

Is it possible to recover Expofrut?
"There have been many meetings. Expofrut Belgium is still connected with to our camera and they are seeing how the macro and micro scheme of Argentina evolves. I think that there are possibilities, there are many companies that want to invest or return to San Juan because they had many good years in this sector. So, as the economic variables help us recover the competitiveness that we lost, I have no doubt that this, or other companies, will see it as good business and things might recover," said Roberto Gutierrez, the manager of the Chamber of Foreign Trade of San Juan.

However, the outlook for the short term is not very encouraging. On Saturday, February 3, the newspaper Tiempo de San Juan published an announcement made by Gutierrez, in which he stated that, this season, the table grape sector would hardly exceed the tons exported in the previous one due to moisture problems. "We are still in crisis. It seems that the sector was cursed with the 7 plagues of Egypt. Now we are being affected by humidity, so it will be another complicated year."

However, producers and exporters know that there will be better years and that San Juan has all the variables for the table grapes to flourish. "Our land, water, and sun makes our products highly valued anywhere in the world."


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